FREE Emergency Life Saving Skills taking place in Hermitage

Thursday 30th January 2020 @Hermitage Village Hall, 7pm – 9.30pm

This training is FREE to attend and provided by Heartstart Thatcham but places are limited and must be BOOKED. This training is supported by West Berkshire Council Adult Community Learning team.

The Emergency Life training will cover Essential life saving skills that you can use in an emergency situation to save and prolong lives in your community:
Priorities/the conscious casualty Choking
The unconscious casualty Serious bleeding
Cardiac arrest Automated External Defibrillator
Suspected heart attack ELS Certificate

To book on please copy and past this URL:

Post Office News from Citizens Advice Bureau: Bank closures and ATM charges highlight importance of PO banking role

Around a third of the UK’s bank branches have shut within the past 5 years, according to new research from Which?.

Hundreds more which remain open have reduced their opening hours, with some just open for 1 or 2 days a week. The shrinking bank branch network has been driven by a wave of closures by major high street names.

RBS closed 74% of branches, NatWest shut 49% and rural areas have been hit worst of all. A total of only 6,549 bank branches remain. In addition, Which? found 1 in 10 free-to-use ATMs have closed or switched to fee-paying in a 17-month period after major changes to how the network is funded. The consumer organisation reports that deprived areas are losing free cash machines at a much faster rate than affluent ones – forcing thousands of people in poorer communities to pay up to £2 per withdrawal.

In contrast, the 11,500-strong post office network- with 53% of branches in rural areas and 12% in urban deprived areas – is increasingly the nearest outlet for people to withdraw cash and access basic banking services. Citizens Advice is currently undertaking research into how well Post Office banking services are being delivered and what other banking services post offices could offer to support local communities. For further details see their new blog.

Power partnerships: How councils can strengthen localism

Locality, in partnership with Power to Change and Local Trust, worked with four local authorities on an action research project to show how councils can drive forward a radical new localism agenda.

71% of people feel they have little or no control over local decisions.

They’ve worked with community organisations, Big Locals, councillors and council officers in Cornwall, Southwark, Stevenage and Wigan to find out more about the drivers, enablers and barriers to localism.

How councils can shift power to communities
Locality’s report ‘Power Partnerships’ outlines the key ways for local authorities to shift power to people, build local capacity and ownership, and put neighbourhoods in the lead. This includes a six-step roadmap for councils to:

  • Co-create the vision for localism with communities
  • Match the ambition with internal organisational change
  • Map community assets and governance capacity
  • Invest directly in community infrastructure
  • Embed the power partnership in community engagement and local governance
  • Provide flexible funding for local social action.

To read more on this article and the full report please click here

Village Halls Provide the Perfect Location for the VE Day 75 Celebrations

Village halls provide the communities of England with ideal locations for local people to take part in the VE Day 75 celebrations taking place over the weekend of the 8th – 10th May 2020, in celebration of the 75th anniversary of VE Day.

Town and Parish Councils are taking the lead throughout England in the organisation of local celebrations marking the 75th Anniversary of the end of the war in Europe on the 8th – 10th May 2020.  After six years of fighting, the end of hostilities in Europe were officially announced on the 8th May 1945 by Prime Minister Winston Churchill. That date has since become enshrined in history as VE Day.

VE Day 75, on the weekend of 8th – 10th May 2020, will be an international celebration of peace – a time to remember, reflect and pay tribute to the millions who played such a vital part in achieving it. This includes the Armed Forces personnel from many countries who gave their lives or were physically and mentally injured; the hard-working women and men who kept the factories, mines, shipyards and farms operating throughout the years of turmoil; the ARP wardens, police officers, doctors, nurses, firemen, local defence volunteers and many others safeguarded the home front.

SSAFA the Armed Forces Charity – which has been supporting service personnel, veterans and their families since 1885 – are the charity partner for this series of VE Day 75 commemorative events.

To view the planned activities over the 8th-10th May 2020 please visit– to see the complete overview for this anniversary. It includes:

  • The Playing of Battle’s O’er & VE 75 Years
  • The ‘Nation’s Toast to the Heroes of WW2’
  • The ‘Cry for Peace, around the World’
  • Churches & cathedrals ‘Ringing out for Peace’
  • Street parties and parties in pubs, clubs, Hotels, on town and village greens and in halls etc.
  • Services of commemoration and celebration in churches, including the reading of the ‘Tribute to the Millions’ and the playing of the Last Post

If you are a parish, town council or village hall/community building in Berkshire and are running an event to celebrate VEDay75 please get in touch with us at or via our Twitter and Facebook accounts so we can share your news and help publicise it.

NEW TRAINING TOPIC COMES TO BERKSHIRE! Listening Skills for Community Organising, 22.11.19

What is ‘Community Organising’?

When communities work together, the possibilities for positive change are endless. Community organising is the work of bringing people together to take action around their common concerns and overcome social injustice. Community organisers reach out and listen, connect and motivate people to build their collective power. When people are organised, communities get heard and power begins to shift creating real change for good

This interactive, quality-assured course will help you to develop the skills and confidence to start listening to people to build relationships and activate people as part of a community organising strategy. Listening to people is the foundation of community organising because it builds trust and relationships, uncovers issues and is an essential starting point for bringing people together to share stories, ideas and action.

The course is taking place on Friday 22nd November from 9.30am – 5pm at Beech Hill Memorial Hall, Berkshire, RG7 2BE. To reserve your place please click here:

This interactive, quality-assured community organising course you will build on your knowledge and explore:

  • ‘relational’ listening and its importance in community organising
  • How to plan a listening campaign to kick-start your organising work
  • Practical listening tools you can use to engage people, build relationships and find leaders
  • How asking powerful questions helps people to tell their stories
  • How community organisers reflect to improve their work

“The listening exercise made me reflect on how I have been listening to others and sometimes not hearing them.”

People that have attended Community Organisers Ltd courses have gone on to achieve great things and make a real difference to their community. To read some case studies and get a better idea of what YOU could help achieve please click here: